Making an Upside Down Herb Planter

Posted on Jul 22 2009 - 3:30am by Mike Lieberman

Since I am gardening in such a small space, I need to make sure that I am maximizing every inch possible.

When I was doing my initial research, I came across the Instructable on upside down hanging planters.

Perfect for my fire escape and for this project. Using recycled materials, so it’s inexpensive and efficient. They are also easy to make.

    Tools and materials

  • 2L soda bottle
  • Duct tape
  • Razor
  • Hole puncher
  • Thick twine or thin rope


    Instructions on how to make an upside vegetable planter

  • Use razor to cut off bottom third or so of soda bottle.
  • Wrap duct tape around the bottom part of the soda bottle. Make sure that half of the duct tape is on the bottle and half is above it.
  • Cut slits about 2-3″ apart in the duct tape and fold over.
  • Punch two holes about halfway down the duct tape. Cut two more on the opposite side.
  • Cut string and thread through two of the holes form the outside in. Do the same on the other side.

37 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. morassee July 24, 2009 at 8:11 am -

    Hi! I just started something similar, in a more girlish style 🙂

    Good Luck & Enjoy your garden!


  2. Mike Lieberman July 24, 2009 at 8:23 am -

    What mine aren't girlish enough for you? 🙂

    Good luck and I'll be keeping a lookout on your garden.

  3. morassee July 24, 2009 at 8:37 am -

    Shall we say that the two gardens are kinda twins?

    They started their lives at the same time… Mine lives in London downtown anyway

  4. Heather July 24, 2009 at 12:59 pm -

    LOVE it! I might just have to give that one a try!

  5. Mike Lieberman July 25, 2009 at 7:01 am -

    That works for me.

  6. Mike Lieberman July 25, 2009 at 7:01 am -

    Heather, if you do, please let me know how it goes. Haven't had much success yet. The parsley looks to be hurting at this point.

    Not sure if it's me or that it just doesn't work.

  7. Elena July 27, 2009 at 1:34 pm -

    Way too cool. Would have never thought about this. But I had never lived in NY either.

  8. Mike Lieberman July 27, 2009 at 2:40 pm -

    Thanks. Not sure I'm sold on this yet though. Will do a follow up post soon.

  9. Craig Stanton July 28, 2009 at 11:14 pm -

    But why grow things out of the bottom? You've got to deal with the soil/water leaking out. Why not just put the lid on and grow stuff out of the top? like a regular pot, just made out of an upside down bottle.

  10. Mike Lieberman July 29, 2009 at 5:56 am -

    Good call Craig. I did the upside down because of the limited space. Thought it would best suit what I was working with, plus it looked kinda cool.

    Think I need to re-evaluate and what your suggestion definitely makes sense.

  11. Margaret July 30, 2009 at 4:08 am -

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  12. Mike Lieberman July 30, 2009 at 4:34 am -

    Thanks Margaret. Glad you are enjoying.

    I'm contemplating reorganizing the site to make it easier to follow.

    Appreciate you following and commenting.

  13. Hannah Barron September 19, 2009 at 4:42 pm -

    This idea is really neat, but plants move water around with the help of gravity so I think that might be why they seem hurt and confused! I would just use the exact same planters as is, but grow the herbs right side up and put a medium sized rock where the neck of the bottle is to keep the dirt in. That way it's perfect for letting water drain out. Also, with the plant right-side-up, it will be able to grow bigger instead of being cramped by the bottle neck and depending on the plant, you might save water because you don't have to pour as much in to make sure it gets all the way down to the roots (if the roots were shallow). Looks very cool though! I like that the bottle is clear so you can see exactly where the roots are and if it's root-bound and needs to be transplanted.

  14. Mike Lieberman September 19, 2009 at 4:46 pm -

    Thanks for the comment and suggestion Hannah. It's already done and working much better

  15. solar panels for sale December 4, 2009 at 8:07 pm -

    This is a great idea, I can't wait to try it out. I actually have room for a garden where I live, but this is just too cool.

  16. Mike Lieberman December 5, 2009 at 3:10 pm -

    Thanks for the comment. Unfortunately these were a failure. I'd recommend making these hanging herb planters instead

  17. Mike Lieberman December 5, 2009 at 11:10 pm -

    Thanks for the comment. Unfortunately these were a failure. I'd recommend making these hanging herb planters instead

  18. Mel September 23, 2010 at 3:46 am -

    This is cool! My balcony is quite big but this is way too cool I’m going to give it a try. Perfect for growing herbs. I may use Hannah’s suggestion though coz I think it’s a great idea for good drainage.

  19. Mike Lieberman September 23, 2010 at 4:07 am -
  20. Meemsnyc March 8, 2011 at 6:59 am -

    Super cool idea

  21. BevGreen November 19, 2011 at 4:29 pm -

    These are a great idea for creating with children …. but if you are looking to maximise planting space, how about planting a herb in the top of the bottle, as well as one hanging out the bottom. Companion planting would work a treat. For example, Tomato hanging out the bottom and basil growing out the top ?? Marigolds would also be very good for the top as they are excellent for soil conditon and would add colour to an otherwise (hopefully) very green garden! 🙂

  22. Mike Lieberman November 20, 2011 at 7:52 am -

    Good call, but I attempted to grow upside down and didn’t work out too well for me. So I just started to grow this way.

  23. Pramila February 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm -

    Colorful cotton bags with drawstrings top and bottom to slip the bottles into look very nice.I have herbs in them.Would like to try two plants in one suggested by BevGreen, but somehow haven’t got the hang of it.I have one bottle below the other. Works well.

  24. Mike Lieberman February 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm -

    That’s a great idea.

  25. BevGreen February 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm -

    Hi Pramila
    The double plant idea worked but with limited success. Tomatoes were happy hanging up side down, as are strawberries and herbs like thyme, but basil was very unimpressed! It like being planted upright!  The kids at school also extended the soft drink bottle idea into any large bottle! So now we have tomatoes growing in large upside down catering size ketchup containers(!) they seem to know their destiny! When you start seeing bottles as plant pots there are trillions of them out there 🙂  Enjoy!

  26. rjwalker March 12, 2012 at 11:20 am -

    DO NOT imitate the way he handles that utility knife!  Especially when he’s slitting the duct tape.

  27. Mike Lieberman March 12, 2012 at 1:58 pm -

    Thanks for the tip.

  28. Nadine Hartman Bourne March 14, 2012 at 7:02 pm -

    just curious but why upside down? the plants could just as easily grow out the top. ok maybe not tomatoes but herbs. I just saw one using a hanging pocket shoe organizer to plant herbs and or salad veggies.

  29. Mike Lieberman March 15, 2012 at 12:32 am -

    It was an idea that failed.

  30. splashingwater March 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm -

    Thanks!  Great tip.

  31. Therazorgirl March 25, 2012 at 9:49 am -

    This is all fine and well-intended, but…how about the BPAs leeching into the water and subsequently into the food? Or have I missed something in the way America does business where plastics are concerned?  I know that I try to use as little plastic as possible. I am not trying to be sarcastic. I would really like a definitive answer about this. Thanks!

  32. Tylersavoy March 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm -

    great idea

  33. Matthew Billington September 10, 2012 at 2:10 am -

    I’ve been using an idea from south america, you have long stacks of bottles. they’re upside down still. with a hole-saw you cut a hole in the base of one, push the top of another through the hole and use the lid to bolt them together, a few holes in the lid and the water drains in the bottle below, a window in the side give access to the plant. a collection bottle at the bottom lets you recycle water and nutrients to the top again. I’m currently growing lettuce and strawberries with four growing bottles and the collector, thats about six foot high and hangs on the washing line. once the plant is too big for the confines of the bottle ease it sideways through the hole and soon the bottle is hidden by yr plant. an added bonus is that slugs and snails have a right hard time getting yr greens. I reckon with a six foot section of wall you could have 20-24 bottles all hanging up.

  34. OneHippieChick June 28, 2013 at 9:27 pm -

    If you’re worried about plastic, pick up some scrap wood, a cheap hammer, some nails, and build some little hanging boxes for your space. Space the wood pieces on the bottom so that is ever so slightly open-slatted, line the box with cotton cloth, straw, coco liner, or whatever…plant, and hang. However, I do love the idea of reusing soda bottles! Reuse and repurpose when you can! Thanks for the tutorial!

  35. solos42 January 14, 2015 at 9:30 pm -

    I grew tomato plants upside down in shopping bags, they don’t need a stake, and they grew as big as a small tree- I’m going to try the stacking of pop bottles on top of one another, this spring- saw on youtube

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